This week, the big news in the English-speaking world is Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for literature. I was just stunned! He had been mentioned as a possible candidate by fans, but I don't think many people had considered him to be a likely choice. I am thrilled of course, and all this talk that his lyrics is not REAL literature is just hogwash, although my personal candidate in English-language literature is and has always been Philip Roth.
So far, Dylan has not said a word about his Nobel win. He held a concert yesterday just as it had been planned, but since he never speaks directly to the public - this is just his style - he made no reference to it. Those who know Dylan a bit are not very surprised. Here is President Obama's account of his encounter with the bard during his White House performance:
"Here's what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you'd expect he would be. He wouldn't come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn't want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that. He came in and played 'The Times They Are A-Changin'.' A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I'm sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves. And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That's how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat."